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10-lb. Penalty

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  2,751 ratings  ·  133 reviews
At 18, easygoing Benedict Juliard has no stronger ambition than to ride as an amateur jockey in steeplechase races. His father, George, driven toward a life of public service and politics, asks his only son to enter into a pact that neither of them will commit any act that could destroy the father's growing reputation and burgeoning political career. Five years later, afte ...more
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published September 22nd 1997 by Putnam Adult (first published 1997)
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What is there to say about Dick Francis? As I think about all of his books (yes, this review covers all of his books, and yes I've read them all) I think about a moral ethical hero, steeped in intelligence and goodness embroiled in evil machinations within British horse racing society - either directly or indirectly. The heroes aren't always horse jockies, they can be film producers, or involve heroes engaged in peripheral professions that somehow always touch the horse racing world.

But more tha
This review is from my POV as an author, so easily skip over it if you will: Unlike most of Dick Francis' novels, the action in 10 lb Penalty spans years rather than weeks and months. This is of interest when you consider story structure. In other of his novels, say Reflex for instance, the plot is linear and uninterrupted by passages of time. Ageing jockey (mid-30s)falls off a horse and begins to consider what to do with the rest of his life. There are twin, intertwined plots, the one dealing w ...more
I doubt any mystery reader has to be introduced to Dick Francis, so I suppose it could be enough to say that this is another solid book from a master. 10 LB. PENALTY has perhaps somewhat less mystery than many of Francis' titles (I'd call it suspense, myself) but has the likable, ingenious, and self-effacing hero that Francis' fans (of which I have been numbered for many, many years) have come to expect. (Ben does not, however, seem like a "typical" 17 year-old to me!) I particularly enjoyed the ...more
An old reliable. 17 year old Benedict Juliard, true to Dick Francis' classic prototype, is wise beyond his years, cool under pressure, and honorable where others submit to temptation. Ben is recruited by his somewhat distant father(another oft-seen character) to be present while he runs for office. For Ben it means giving up his dream of being a steeplechase jockey. Someone is trying to keep the elder Juliard from winning and Ben is out to figure out who it is. The first part of the book was fas ...more
I normally don't like mystery books, but I breezed through this book in 2 days and then picked up another by Francis. I love his writing, with how his simple sentences have such a huge impact. And while the mystery wasn't very obvious,the villain was shown early, it was enjoyable reading about how to stop the crimes and how the whole series of events helped Ben to grow. His relationship with his father is wonderful, and Francis describes being on the edge of adulthood from the teenage perspectiv ...more
I like most of Francis' novels, and this was no exception. I managed to find [I]10 LB. Penalty[/I] (one of two books I needed to complete my collection of Francis' horseracing novels), and I enjoyed it. The young hero, son of a MP and perhaps future Prime Minister of Britain, takes on the daunting task of trying to protect his father from an assassin. It means giving up his dream of becoming a professional jockey, but his dad does get him a racehorse he can ride as an amateur. There is enough su ...more
I'd vote for George Julliard any day! Any politician who passes on slinging mud at his opponent deserves a medal. This is the first book involving any form of politics I've picked up in a while — I needed a break from the doom and gloom of real-world politics and imaginary-lands' sleaze and was glad to find Dick Francis' characters much more likeable than those I read about in the newspaper.

Despite the distance between father and son, I found George to be a fair-minded and genuinely warm person.
Dick Francis mysteries have a quality to them that’s difficult to explain. There’s nothing jarring about them, even when something surprising happens. They’re generally all business, with no pesky romantic subplots to detract from what’s going on. And they always have something to do with horse racing, even tangentially.

In this case, the tie to horse racing is Ben, who would like nothing more than to be a professional jockey. Unfortunately, he’s just a little too large for the professional world
Kilian Metcalf
Dick Francis is to reading what McDonald's is to food, and I don't mean that as a slur. Safe, predictable, no surprises, you know what you're going to get. Sometimes predictability is a good thing. That's why we call them comfort reads. I'm in the middle of a move, and this book turned up. Perfect for sitting down for a few minutes of respite during a stressful time. I know the hero will be stoic, the villain will be insane, and everything will turn out fine in the end. Works for me.
This Dick Francis novel was more involved with the world of politics than of horse racing. There was a fair amount of suspense but not much mystery. I enjoyed it though, particularly the relationship between the narrator Benedict Juliard and his father George. When the story opens, Benedict is just several weeks shy of his eighteenth birthday. He's an amateur steeplechase jockey but he's being dismissed by the horse trainer he rides for due to false allegations of glue-sniffing and drug-taking. ...more
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October 14, 2009
9 out of 10 stars

I think I enjoyed this almost twice as much as Twice Shy, the Dick Francis book I had read recently. The look in on Brittish politics was very interesting, too!
Brian Leslie
I am a huge Dick Francis fan, but this book was just not up to his normal standards. The story of a politician trying to get elected and using his son for validity just felt forced and unbelievable. The characters were hard to get in touch with as they didn't come across as real people. Overall I wouldn't recommend this as an example of Francis' writing and storytelling ability.
Steve Wratten
My first Francis book. Kind of a light weight mystery, but I guess he's old school compared to John Sandford, one of my favorites.

The text is well-written and snappy, with many British-isms, appropriate since it takes place in England. I think I'll try one of the earlier Sid Halley books in the future.
One of my favorite Dick Francis books. It's not directly a horse novel, as many of his aren't. It's about a father and son coming to an understanding, about loyalty and ambition and halfway decent politicians. I've read it five or six times in whole and many more in part.
Francis, Dick - 26th book

Seventeen-year-old Benedict Juliard is an amateur jockey whose life is changed abruptly when he is accused of taking drugs. A waiting limousine whisks Ben away to a different life, a life that will prove to be more hazardous than that of a jump jockey. Ben's father, George, is running for Parliament, and he wants his son to spend a month working with him in the pre-election campaign. Ben is quickly introduced to the dangers of the political arena.

This w
Overpoliticalized piece of crimi, with wacky and ruthless greedy people, their seeing-eye dogs and 2 non-cops who want to save their lives and respectively wash off the world of these sort "junk-men". Transparent and nothing innovative, shocking or groundbreaking.
Dewayne Stark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book gives you an insight on how parliament works. Once again horse racing is part of the story. This book drug the story out a little more than I like however, in the end it all comes full circle.
Read this out loud to my husband who has had eye surgery. Fun experience. It was a typical Dick Francis book and enjoyable because he writes an interesting and clean book.
Brenda Margriet
I've always like this look behind the scenes of a political campaign. The transition through the years is handled very deftly, and the writing is crisp and clean.
Karen Giauque
Have never read Dick Francis before and I definitely will read some more. This was fun to read - decent, affable, smart people, good writing, and a good plot.
Daniel Bratell
After reading quite a few of Dick Francis' books and with the pattern well established this one book came as a bit of a surprise, but sadly not in the positive way. It is like he is trying a new approach and it doesn't work. Don't get me wrong, ninety percent is still the same trusted pattern, but there are strange gaps in the story, tens of pages where there is nothing exciting going on even in the background, and the narrator is suddenly somewhat outside the main story rather than in it. Furth ...more
This Dick Francis novel is a bit different from previous works, because the main character is trying to protect his father and not to try to simply get himself out of trouble. The time frame also takes place over years, which is unusual and gives it a slower pace than his other novels.

In this one, Benedict Juliard is called by his father as a teen-ager to come with him on the campaign trail. In the process, he grows up a lot and then heads off to college. But the novel doesn't stop there, becaus
"The one about the politician's son". Ah, so good. This novel suffered from poor structure: the natural arc for the story would have been the election campaign, but instead it drags on post-election and indeed post-the-next-election. So the first 70% of the book is all about the challenge of getting Dad elected, then it just sort of flaps between son's career, Dad's career, and lingering threats from the chaps in black. It became a little like one of those stories told by drunk people, which jus ...more
I absolutely loved this book... even more than the other Dick Francis one I just finished before it. I loved especially how he built up the relationship between father and son. As usual, I loved the narrator (the son) of the story. You grew to appreciate his talents even through his own modest description of them. The only critique I really have is the anticlimax, in my opinion. I understood why Francis took the time, but I wished he could've arranged it so the mystery of the situation was solve ...more
Started this yesterday & finished this morning at about 10am due to stay in hospital & not sleeping. Loved it & will be getting next in series soon.
My first Dick Francis novel and I liked it quite a bit. The mystery was a little predictable, but everything else about the book was great.
Nancy Schober
Totally charming characters! Methinks the author is a tad cynical about most politicians and writes about such delightedly.
Mark Passerrello
Always a good story, always great situations and details, Dick Francis is always in the winner's circle.
Amazing! As per usual. I don't think I'm ever going to find a Dick Francis book that I don't enjoy. Not sure whether to be happy or annoyed about that. It would be kind of nice to find one book that he had slightly messed up. Make the rest of us mere mortals feel better about our writing skills!
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Dick Francis CBE (born Richard Stanley Francis) was a popular British horse racing crime writer and retired jockey.

* Sid Halley Mystery
* Kit Fielding Mystery
More about Dick Francis...
To the Hilt Dead Heat Whip Hand (Sid Halley, #2) Proof Bolt (Kit Fielding, #2)

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“But what do you say if you're asked a direct question and you can't tell the truth and you can't tell a lie?'
'You say “how very interesting” and change the subject.”
“But people as a rule believe only what they want to believe, and if you tell them anything else they'll call you a trouble-maker and get rid of you and never give you your job back, even if what you said is proved spot on right by time.” 3 likes
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